Common Gym Phrases And What They Actually Mean | Gymtalk

Common Gym Phrases And What They Actually Mean

The gym can be an intimidating place.

Well, sort of.

Not as intimidating as being chained up in a Belgium sex bunker, being asked to call a coin toss by Anton Chigurh or having your CV marked up by Claude Littner.

Or being forced to sleep opposite a pickled jar containing the severed head of your murdered lover as a punishment for being unfaithful.

To be fair on Peter the Great, this was fairly mild as punishments from Russian Czars go – the equivalent, nowadays, of purposefully making your partner a rubbish cup of tea.

But, for newcomers especially, the gym can be a discomfiting environment.

As you wonder out of the changing rooms for the first time, you’ll feel like a new recruit in a buddy cop movie who’s been transferred to a department in a corrupt precinct.

You’ll get dirty looks from the tough guys in the free weights area (all ‘on the take’), an unhinged Mel Gibson type will accost you at the water fountain with unsolicited fitness tips and weapons-grade viagra, and there’ll be a by-the-books personal trainer trying to avenge the memory of his father who was murdered in the line of duty (crushed by a bosu ball in the steam room).

As you get to know the lay of the land you’ll pick up a few valuable titbits.

You’ll learn, for example, that the gym is a place where you can seemingly break wind with total impunity.

You’ll learn to dodge that one guy who wonders around with a Foreigner t-shirt, flip-flops and a permanent demiboner.

You’ll learn to avoid peak times where the gym floor resembles a flock of seagulls going mental over a dropped ice cream.

And, importantly, you’ll also learn that in the gym there is a big difference between what people say and what they actually mean.

One wrong word and you’ll be in a predicament that escalates quicker than a late-night confrontation with Joe Pesci in a petrol station.

“I didn’t call you a prick, Joe, I was just trying to grab a Lucozade from the fridge.”

So, if you’re new to lifting weights and want to avoid committing any faux pas that will land you in hot water, here is a collection of common phrases which we have kindly decoded for you…

Gym lingo – translated

Are you using this?

You’re quite clearly not using this, I’m merely feigning politeness, so please get off your phone and move before I lodge this bottle of Lucozade Sport so far up your rectum you’ll be shitting electrolytes for the next six months.

Have you got many sets left?

I’ve been wanting to use this piece of equipment for the last 15 minutes and if I see you attempt one more set I’m going to burst a blood vessel in my ballbag.

Do you need this 20kg?

I’ve made the assumption just by looking at your pathetic bag-of-bones physique that you will have no use for these weights, so I’m just going to take them, deal with it you human skidmark.

Can I work in with you?

Even though the gym is empty, I am now going to annoy you by unracking your weights, making small talk about protein supplements and sweating everywhere when I could have just done something else for 10 minutes.

Can I get a spot?

You’re the only person who actually looks like they know what they’re doing in here so can you please assist me with this lift.

I’m maxing out

I’ve put far too much weight on this bar and will certainly not be hitting the prescribed reps, but I don’t want to admit this by removing any plates.

One… more… rep

I’ll shit a potato before I ever lift this weight so please get ready to step in.

It’s all you!

This is 50% me, you have no business lifting this weight, you’re wasting both of our time, and I have a good mind to drop this bar on your stupid face.

You’ve got this!

If it wasn’t for me supporting this weight you’d be going home in an ambulance with a spine that looks like a dropped burrito.

You’re looking massive!

What steroids have you been taking?

I don’t want to get too big

I no absolutely nothing about lifting weights or human physiology.

It really engages your core

I’ve learnt everything I know about weightlifting from a pullout in The Mail On Sunday entitled “Sizzling Summer Abs” and therefore believe crunches to be more effective at strengthening your core than heavy squats.

Squats are really bad for your knees

My PT qualification came free with a box of Kellog’s Crunchy Nut.

It’s really good for muscle toning

I couldn’t be much more of a cunt if I tried.

You need to confuse your muscles

I will believe anything I read – even if it’s been scrawled in human faeces on the wall of a public toilet by a blind toddler.

This machine will hep you get rid of belly fat

If someone told me that fisting your grandma burns body fat I would be the first to give it a go.

Squats/deadlift/pressing really kills my back/knee/shoulder

I can’t be bothered to work hard or spend time learning correct form so I’m just going to do some isolation exercises instead.

I leg press 400kg

I don’t want to squat or deadlift so I’m distracting myself from the real task at hand with an exercise that’s about as pointless as a clay sculpture of a dog’s colon.

I’m not lifting heavy at the moment

I have never lifted heavy in my entire life.

Lightweight baby!

Everybody look at me, look at me, I’ve watched some Ronnie Coleman YouTube videos, look at me!

I don’t go to the gym much anymore

I’ve been working out four times a week every week for the last year.

Hmm, interesting, I’ll give that a try

What kind of babbling bullshit is this?

Do you still train much?

Bloody hell you look small.

What are you lifting today?

I have nothing else to say to you but we’ve made eye contact now.

Signing off

Hopefully this decoded gym lingo will save some of you newbies from social embarrassment next time a fellow lifter strikes up a conversation with you.

Alternatively, you can just eschew all human interaction by donning a massive pair of headphones and scowling at everyone who makes eye contact with you – it works for a lot of people.

If you have any more translations of common gym phrases please get in touch via the comments section below, I’d love to hear from you!

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  1. Sorry I am doing super sets… No you can’t have that barbell as I “really” am using half the gym’s equipment that I have positioned around myself and I am going to use it after I am finished on this cable fly.

    1. Haha, yes, that’s a good one!

      I’m going to add it to the list.

  2. Hands down the best article I’ve read, fucking funny Henry keep it up!

    1. Thanks Aaron, appreciate the comment!

      Will hopefully knock out a few more of these next year.

      Any ideas welcome!

  3. This is my favourite website for talking about the gym.

  4. Very funny but the truth behind some of it is eerie lol – I like it.

  5. Pretty cool phrases.

    It mentioned some of other phrases which I even didn’t hear before like squats are really bad for your knees and I’m maxing out, ha ha.

    Well here are some which we use when we take supplement and start pushing to limits – beasting it up, bulking up and my fav – pump up.

    Thumbs up.

  6. This is great!

    I remember when I first started training it was honestly like learning a new language altogether.

  7. I once had a guy tell me that he couldn’t work in with me because “he was working in with himself”… a very polite way of telling me to Fuck Off.


    1. Haha genius, I’ll have to use that one!

  8. This is really funny.

    I really enjoyed it a lot.

    Thanks, Henry.

    Keep it up!

  9. hahaha I’m dead!


  10. Best article I’ve read, but it’s funny